The 3M Streaming Projector isn't without its faults, especially its limited battery life (a little over 1.5 hours), brightness, and DVD-like resolution. But that's not enough to detract from what's ultimately a delightful gadget, not to mention an exciting new product type from 3M and Roku.
Hasbro's new version of Lazer Tag is a mixed bag. It's undeniably fun and surprisingly interesting, but the pieces don't all come together clearly or smoothly...at least, not yet. As long as you're not hoping for competition-grade Lazer Tag and can put up with some bugs, it's worth it for the novelty.
If you can afford to splurge on a $129.99 scale and have already invested in Fitbit's ecosystem, the Aria is a worthwhile addition. It's better-looking, easier to install than the competition's, and just as accurate.
The iCade is a fantastically eye-catching conversation starter, and very fun to use once you find a handful of Atari games that work for you. For vintage gaming enthusiasts, it may be an expensive novelty, but a very worthwhile one.
The 8-Bitty is a cute stocking-stuffer, a clever novelty gift, and, depending on your usage, a functional retro-gaming accessory for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. It's less expensive than an iCade, and more flexible.
The Sphero is a high-tech robotic toy ball that you can control with your iOS or Android smartphone. Debuted at CES 2011, the device lets you steer the ball, and it makes a great holiday gift for the cat that has it all.
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The point of the Rasberry Pi motherboard is primarily education, with the intent to create an affordable computer that breaks away from the technical hand-holding that comes with cookie-cutter PCs. Try it, who knows? You may learn something, and it's only $35. What do you have to lose?
The new Furby is newly revamped, more robotic, and studded with motors and sensors than its 1998 counterpart. It's also considerably more crazy-eyed: twin brightly-lit LED screens with mechanical eyelids animate with a variety of expressions and even quirky pictograms. Can it compete in a world of robots, apps, and video games? Well, I can at least say this: it's charming.
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MakerBot Replicator 3D printer
The MakerBot Replicator is the best 3D printer available for under $2,000. It's not a toy, but rather a challenging, thrilling creation platform. If you have the time to invest in learning how to use it, you will surely be rewarded.